KIAN HARRATT’S four-month suspension for breaking FA betting rules 484 times is an absolute joke.
The Huddersfield striker has got off lightly and for me his punishment sends out the wrong message.
GettyKian Harratt has been handed a four-month ban for breaching FA betting rules 484 times[/caption]
In comparison, Brentford’s Ivan Toney served an eight-month ban for 232 breaches of FA regulations.
But what is significant about Harratt’s suspension is that he is currently recovering from surgery to a hamstring injury, so would have been sidelined anyway.
Surely, the punishment should come into force when he has been certified by an independent medical expert as fully fit to play.
As things stand his punishment is restricted to the embarrassment of being caught out. Harratt will feel some shame that he bet on his own team to LOSE nine times.
The striker is 21 and has been betting on games since he was 18 — and young people make mistakes.
He was quick to hold his hands up and say it was a fair cop but that doesn’t excuse what he did.
I get fed up with people who refer to players in their early 20s as kids.
He is not a kid, he is an adult and should know right from wrong.
GettyIvan Toney was suspended for eight months for 232 betting breaches[/caption]
Harratt acknowledged himself that while coming through the ranks at Huddersfield he was educated by the club about the perils of betting and the fact professional footballers are prohibited from gambling on football.
It could not have been made clearer to him that it is not allowed – yet he ignored that and opened up a betting account and had wagers on anything he fancied… including betting on his own team to lose, which is shocking.
Surely no club wants a player among their ranks willing the opponent to win.
If I was the Huddersfield chairman, I’d sack him.
How can he walk into that dressing room now and be seen as a loyal member of the team when everyone knows he wagered on them to lose?
It’s important he is properly sanctioned to deter others.
So to simply be made to sit out a short period of time that he was most probably going to be out injured for anyway is ridiculous.
What sort of message does it send out to aspiring kids who want to be footballers that you can one day bet on your own team to lose and simply get a rap across the knuckles?
But for me there is a wider point about gambling and the football industry. Players are brought up surrounded by a betting culture as bookmakers pour millions of pounds each year into the sport commercially.
Whether that be by sponsoring a kit, buying up the advertising hoardings around a stadium or even having grounds named after a betting firm.
GettyHarratt even bet on his own team to lose nine times[/caption]
Simply everywhere you look in football there is reference to a betting company.
Even the EFL itself is sponsored by Sky Bet.
So it goes without saying that footballers are exposed to gambling.
It seems a bit hypocritical to stop players from gambling yet expect them to promote betting companies.
It is understandable that players like Toney and Harratt got tempted to bet themselves.
But the laws are very clear and so much work is done to educate footballers.
So there are no excuses.
Harratt knew he was breaking the rules yet carried on regardless.
The punishment should have fitted the crime.